Protecting yourself against Internet predators or cyber attackers is crucial every time you’re online. Hackers tend to collect information from infected websites you visit. Remember that even just a single visit to a malicious site can jeopardize your personal and sensitive information. That’s why you need to avoid all unsafe websites altogether.
Not all websites are secure, so identifying the signs of an unsafe site takes a careful observation to avoid the spread of malware or receiving spam messages. Checking online resources, such as websafetyadvice.com, can help you safeguard your online data. Don’t allow someone to steal your information. Learn how a website protects its visitors.
Here are the signs that you’re on an unsafe website:
- No SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate protects your sensitive information, such as financial data or any personal information, while traveling from the website towards a dedicated server. You would know that a website has an SSL certificate because its URL starts with “https,” which means the site is encrypted.
However, you can also find sites without the letter “s” on it, just “HTTP,” which means that the site is unprotected or doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Your data is easily accessible or can be exposed to cyber attackers without an SSL certificate.
Here are some reminders about SSL:
- It’s not enough to only rely on the SSL certificate when it comes to cyber protection.
- The SSL certificate is a good thing to consider if you need to log in, make a payment, or enter your email address.
- If you need to access an ‘HTTP’ site, do it on incognito mode, which is another browsing option done privately. It’s usually used to avoid other people who are using the same computer to see some of your online activities, and it reduces the amount of information captured by the search engine and the websites you visit.
- About Us Page: Knowing what a site does will help you determine if the website is worth using according to your needs.
- Contact Us Page: A safe website is proud to display their contact information, such as their phone number, email, and even the office or physical address.
- Help and FAQ Pages: Determine if a site has a reporting system in case of abuse, fraud, or any suspicious site activities.
- No Trust Seal Verification
A safe website has the words “Verified” or “Sealed” in its logo or icon. It is called a trust seal, which shows that the site has a security partner. It is also an indicator that the website has safety features such as HTTPS security and malware scan.
Here’s how to verify a trust seal:
- Click the trust seal badge.
- It should route you to a verification page.
- The page confirms that the website works with a security firm.
- Review the security firm website, too, to ensure that it’s legitimate.
- Signs of Malware
Here are the signs of website malware:
- Defacements: Hackers replace a website’s content with their ideological imagery, name, or logo.
- Suspicious pop-ups: These enticing pop-ups are usually claims to entice you to click and eventually download malware accidentally.
- Phishing kits: These imitate websites, usually banking sites, to appear legitimate, tricking users to provide sensitive information. These websites usually have spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
- Malicious redirects: These involve being redirected to another website that looks suspicious and are usually combined with phishing kits.
- Malvertising: This uses ads promoting products that promise to cure serious illnesses such as cancer and AIDS or fake news flash about celebrity scandals. The ads usually look unprofessional with spelling or grammar errors.
- Search engine warnings: Google scans sites for malware. Other popular search engines do the same, showing a warning that the website is infected with malware.
- SEO spam: A visible sign of SEO spam is the presence of unusual links in the comments section.
It’s best to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re dealing with a safe site. Don’t be too confident seeing an SSL certificate or a trust badge. Look for the subtle and visible signs of malware, and avoid clicking redirects and suspicious links.